The New York Times bestselling author heralds the future of business in Free.
In his revolutionary bestseller, The Long Tail, Chris Anderson demonstrated how the online marketplace creates niche markets, allowing products and consumers to connect in a way that has never been possible before. Now, in Free, he makes the compelling case that in many instances businesses can profit more from giving things away than they can by charging for them. Far more than a promotional gimmick, Free is a business strategy that may well be essential to a company's survival.
The costs associated with the growing online economy are trending toward zero at an incredible rate. Never in the course of human history have the primary inputs to an industrial economy fallen in price so fast and for so long. Just think that in 1961, a single transistor cost $10; now Intel's latest chip has two billion transistors and sells for $300 (or 0.000015 cents per transistor--effectively too cheap to price). The traditional economics of scarcity just don't apply to bandwidth, processing power, and hard-drive storage.
Yet this is just one engine behind the new Free, a reality that goes beyond a marketing gimmick or a cross-subsidy. Anderson also points to the growth of the reputation economy; explains different models for unleashing the power of Free; and shows how to compete when your competitors are giving away what you're trying to sell.
In Free, Chris Anderson explores this radical idea for the new global economy and demonstrates how this revolutionary price can be harnessed for the benefit of consumers and businesses alike.
In the digital marketplace, the most effective price is no price at all, argues Anderson (The Long Tail). He illustrates how savvy businesses are raking it in with indirect routes from product to revenue with such models as cross-subsidies (giving away a DVR to sell cable service) and freemiums (offering Flickr for free while selling the superior FlickrPro to serious users). New media models have allowed successes like Obama's campaign "billboards" on Xbox Live, Webkinz dolls and Radiohead's name-your-own-price experiment with its latest album. A generational and global shift is at play-those below 30 won't pay for information, knowing it will be available somewhere for free, and in China, piracy accounts for about 95% of music consumption-to the delight of artists and labels, who profit off free publicity through concerts and merchandising. Anderson provides a thorough overview of the history of pricing and commerce, the "mental transaction costs" that differentiate zero and any other price into two entirely different markets, the psychology of digital piracy and the open-source war between Microsoft and Linux. As in Anderson's previous book, the thought-provoking material is matched by a delivery that is nothing short of scintillating. (July)
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Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . The Best Book I Have Read This Year
Posted February 22, 2010 by Alessandro Viani , Rancho Murieta, CAThis is one of the most interesting books I have read this year, maybe one of the best ever. It provides a very interesting perspective on the meaning of the word free, both in cost and freedom. It also explains the origins of "zero", and how something that technically isn't part of economics-since free doesn't involve money-can impact our economy so much. The meaning of Free has dramatically changed the business strategy of many large technology companies from Microsoft to Yahoo.
2 . Worth Reading
Posted October 22, 2009 by Adam W , Copenhagen, DenmarkOne of the best books I have read this year!
July 06, 2009
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